Mohler addresses key issues in Christian apologetics at University of Louisville
The SBTS president answered questions about Christianity in the first stop of his Ask Anything tour
Students from the University of Louisville sat for an hour -and-a-half to ask questions of R. Albert Mohler Jr. They wanted to know about belief and Christianity — whether religion could still be reasonable. So hundreds gathered on Feb. 6 in the Margaret Comstock Concert Hall on the UofL campus for the first event of the Ask Anything tour, seeking answers from Mohler.
Mohler is the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and has written numerous books on faith and culture and hosts The Briefing, a daily podcast analyzing news and events through a Christian worldview. That night, he answered questions on Christian views of science, history, politics, and theology during the open-microphone session.
The event was a partnership between Southern Seminary and Ligonier Ministries, a nonprofit discipleship organization founded by theologian R.C. Sproul. The Ask Anything events are meant to engage secular campuses in the spirit of Ligonier’s late founder, a noted Christian apologist and stalwart defender of the faith. To that effect, Mohler sought to demonstrate that Christianity offers a logically consistent and existentially meaningful answer to the world’s most fundamental problems.
“I am here tonight because I believe the most plausible, the true, and genuinely helpful answers to [our] questions come from biblical Christianity. Why are we here? What does it mean? Why is there something rather than nothing? I believe that it is biblical Christianity that answers those questions in the only way that is satisfying,” he said. “Biblical Christianity is the true and most plausible answer to what has gone wrong. And in terms of whether there’s any rescue — that’s the whole point of why Christianity gets its name from Christ. The only way out is that while we were sinners, Christ died for us.”
After addressing issues brought up by students, Mohler concluded with a gospel presentation, arguing that every human being is made in God’s image but deeply broken by the Fall, but that the God who created and judges is also the one who chooses to redeem through his son, Jesus Christ.
Below is a sampling of answers Mohler gave during the event:
How could a loving, all-powerful God allow evil in the world?
“There are basically two philosophical answers to the existence of evil. One is to say that evil is a something that is morally wrong. And the other is to say that evil is a nothing, that it’s the absence of good. In the Bible we find out that the answer is yes, that both arguments actually have a place. We understand that ultimately evil will not be an eternal reality. But we also learn that now it is.
“God decrees the things that he wills, and he doesn’t will evil. God ordains the circumstances of his decrees, and he allows evil for a purpose that will ultimately be a greater good than we can understand, a greater good than if evil never happened. I think there is a theological or moral intuition in us that calls for us to believe that that’s true, that no matter how horrible things are, there is a better coming, there is a promise of true moral satisfaction. The fact is, if there is to be any moral satisfaction, it’s going to have to be because there is a God and he brings it about.”
“There is a classic evolutionary model, rooted in Darwinism. And then there’s biblical Christianity, and as even Darwin and others recognized in the 19th century, there really is a collision here. The collision is not over the mechanism of how anything happened. The first, most unknown question is: Why is there something rather than nothing? What is the explanation for everything?
“I believe that our meaning and our existence, the very nature of who we are as human beings, depends upon the biblical story being true — the fact that the cosmos is not an accident and is filled with purpose, that it was intended from the very beginning to be the place where he would create one single species in his image that would be distinct from all other species and that to human beings he would address himself in a way that he doesn’t address himself to any other material or creature and furthermore that the whole purpose of creation is that he could demonstrate himself to be both creator and redeemer.
“I don’t seek to debunk individual arguments or evidences from evolution. Nor do I question the integrity of those who are making that argument. What we can’t disagree on is the fundamental nature of creation as God’s purpose and human beings as the only creature made in his glory. If we deny those two things, then we end up with nothing that can sustain biblical Christianity.”
Is Christianity historically reliable?
“If you take the skeptics, there were people who were trying to say, ‘We’re going to prove there is not enough historical evidence for Christ.’ What’s really interesting is that they’ve largely given up that argument. It didn’t work because there’s more historical evidence just given commonly accepted secular criteria for historical evidence. There’s basically more [information] about Jesus than almost anyone in the ancient world. We’re talking about the historic Jesus who lived and the fact that he lived, and that’s where you simply have to ask what you are going to believe about Jesus. When you look to Scripture, you look first to the Gospels in the New Testament. They’re the most historically satisfying works of history I’ve ever read in my life. If that was invented history, then the church would have made itself look a lot smarter than the church appears.
“When it comes to answering questions concerning who Christ is, those questions are answered in Scripture. That Scripture speaks about his crucifixion and his resurrection from the dead and the impact his resurrection had upon the disciples — the disciples who were cowering in fear the night of his crucifixion and thereafter going out to the ends of the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The historic evidence inside of Scripture is, to me, abundantly clear and abundantly evident when I read the Gospels.”
The event is the first of two scheduled so far in the Ask Anything tour, which will continue on March 2 on the campus of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Portions of the event will soon be available in video format at equip.sbts.edu